I just got back from a trip to St. Augustine in Florida. There were a ton of fun things to do there. We saw all of the sights, climbed the historic lighthouse, went shopping, went to the wax museum, hung out on the beach. At night, most of the activities in the little town involved drinking. It’s a huge drinking city, and a friend of mine who was traveling with me asked if I was uncomfortable. I really wasn’t, but I’ve been sober for a year and a half now. I realized though that traveling is a huge trigger for many of us. So I thought I’d give you a few tips for ways to avoid drinking next time you are on vacation.
Plan activities that don’t involve drinking.
If you find yourself with nothing to do, you will be more likely to wander into a bar and want to drink. Keep yourself busy with activities that don’t involve drinking. Go sightseeing. Go shopping. Go for a boat tour. There are tons of things to do that don’t involve drinking. Don’t give yourself much down time.
If you do end up at a concert or an event, make sure you order a non-alcoholic drink.
Don’t feel like you can’t go to a concert or out to eat or to any other event that usually involves drinking. But make sure when you get there that you order a non-alcoholic drink or a water. Having a non-alcoholic drink in your hand all night will help you to make sure that you don’t fill your empty hand with a glass of wine or a beer.
Ask your friends or traveling partners if they wouldn’t mind abstaining from alcohol.
It’s not possible to only hang out with people who are sober all of the time when you are in recovery, but traveling with people who are drinking when you are trying not to can be difficult. You could find yourself stuck in a situation you can’t get out of. And it’s easy to say “oh, I’m on vacation!” Have a conversation with the people you are traveling with beforehand and let them know you will not be drinking, and ask them if they would be willing to do the same.
It can be difficult to travel and abstain from drinking, especially when you are so used to vacations being all about the alcohol. But that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. With a little bit of planning and will power, you will be able to avoid picking up a drink when you are on vacation.